Pietersen in line for Surrey spot
Kevin Pietersen is set to return to action in today’s rearranged Friends Life t20 game between Surrey and Hampshire at the Kia Oval.
The England batsman, who retired from limited-overs internationals at the end of May, has been resting since the Investec Test Series with West Indies, which ended on June 11, but is available for all five of Surrey’s FLt20 matches this week.
Pietersen will bolster the batting of a side bottom of the South Group, albeit having played two fewer games than the other teams, in a match originally scheduled for June 20 but delayed due to the death of Tom Maynard two days before.
Gareth Batty continues to lead the hosts while Rory Hamilton-Brown is unavailable on compassionate grounds. Gary Wilson is on international duty with Ireland.
Team director Chris Adams told the Surrey website: "We are delighted to have Kevin Pietersen available to us. He is a world-class performer and will give our batting an added dimension and his experience in this form of the game will be invaluable.”
Pietersen’s former county are seeking their fifth straight FLt20 win, the fourth having been a seven-wicket demolition of Surrey on Saturday at the Ageas Bowl.
Hampshire captain Dimitri Mascarenhas, who leads an unchanged squad, told his club’s website: “It’ll be totally different, simple as that; totally different atmosphere, totally different wicket. They are very, very tough to beat at home.
“And who wouldn’t want to have Kevin Pietersen in their team - one of the best Twenty20 players in the world? So it’s going to be a huge fight under lights at the Kia Oval.”
A knee injury means Michael Carberry is absent for the second-placed visitors, who will go one point behind leaders Sussex with victory.
Today’s other game sees Gloucestershire aim to build on Friday’s nine-wicket upset of Midlands/Wales/West Group leaders Somerset at Taunton when they host the Welsh Dragons at Bristol.
The Dragons, who suffered back-to-back losses on Friday and Saturday, are fifth but can go level on points with their fourth-placed hosts. The corresponding encounter was washed out.